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Self-Medicating with Alcohol and Xanax

answered 04:18 PM EST, Wed September 21, 2011
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I have GAD and panic disorder. I have been self medicating for a while with alcohol and Xanax and sometimes with opiates and things are getting kind of out of control for me and I’m not really sure how to stop and the biggest problem is the drugs aren’t really doing what they’re supposed to anymore. Actually, the biggest problem is that I know I need some help but I am not very comfortable in hospitals or clinics at the moment and I am not sure I can really handle that scene so it looks like I’m going to have to do this myself., which of course is impossible because as soon as I try to cut out the Xanax I’m in panic city and nothing is worse than that…so what do I do?

Dr. Karl Benzio Says...

Great to hear you recognize the coping strategy you are using is not protecting you at all. In fact, it is actually destructive to you. Xanax detox, along with alcohol, are the only medically dangerous, read - life threatening, detoxes, so supervision is highly recommended. 

Assuming you are going to try to do this as an outpatient, a couple important items: 

  1. pick the easiest one for you to stop, alcohol or xanax. 
  2. you need your prescribing doctor to write you out a slow tapering schedule of reducing the easiest one over time. while you are tapering this one, you can not increase the other one even tho you might be tempted.
  3. now do the same thing with the hard one. 
  4. go to www.puriphyte.com and order this to help ease some of the withdrawal symptoms, type in 'Light' to get a 5% discount. watch the testimonials on the website and call the owner - rob lunny with questions.
  5. you need to work on the underlying issues and get better stress mngmt skills- go to www.LighthouseNetwork.org and get WITHIN REACH: Disciplines for Real Life Change. It turned my life around and can help yours also.
  6. go to support meetings in your area for help and encouragement.
  7. get a sponsor at the meeting
  8. give up any caffeine and tobacco
  9. if you can't kick it as an outpatient, call our helpline 877-562-2565  ext 101 and we will find you a good treatment center
  10. find a psychiatrist to put you on better meds for your anxiety and panic
  11. get a good therapist to work on coping skills
hope this list helps. it really would be much easier, less painful, quicker, and longer lasting if you went to a residential situation. thanks for your honesty and question.
by HIS grace, karl benzio, md 
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Page last updated Sep 22, 2011

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